So here we are. Extreme Rules. The follow-up to the Granddaddy of them all, WrestleMania. To paraphrase “Swingers,” this is the “guy behind the guy” pay-per-view on the WWE calendar. Much like the Divas match always goes on after a hot, emotional match, so too must a pay-per-view have the unfortunate distinction of being on after the show they put all the marbles into making. Some years succeed (2012) and others are forgettable (any year other than 2012), but something has to go here right? To take it a step further, this is probably the lousy sequel in a movie series that no one wants to talk about. It’s Home Alone 2 or the next chapter of The Neverending Story or any Karate Kid film made after Daniel leaves the island of Okinawa. But you know what? who cares! It’s Sports Entertainment and they already have my $9.99 so you know I’ll be watching.
Like any “Backlash” show, we have a mix of fresh matches and rematches from top to bottom with still some question marks hanging over our Intercontinental Championship match that may require several re-writes to this piece before Sunday. Maybe Mr. Miyagi can rub his hands together and put Daniel (Larusso) Bryan back together again! As always, here are your matchups and some ghastly predictions that no one will remember by Monday morning.
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH (KICKOFF)
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (C) Vs. The New Day
A match we have all seen before though maybe not quite like this. With the recent change in attitudes by The New Day, and the increasing popularity of our champions, this has double turn written all over it. Fans have been cheering on the Brass Ring Boys since January and those people are all but begging to turn these guys face. Whether or not that’s a good thing since everyone hates good guys these days is open for debate. Now I’m confused! Then you have Kofi and Big E whose whole gimmick is being upbeat and positive and they are always told quite vociferously that they indeed suck on a nightly basis. They cheated to get into this spot and it appears they are being groomed to be the top heel team on the block. Normally, I’d say that the champs retain and we move on. However, I don’t see many title changes Sunday and seeing Kidd and Cesaro chase, particularly as babyfaces, could get these guys off the Youtube portion of the program. So let’s start off bold and clap together. New.. Day… Champs! MCGINN’S PICK: The New Day (sucks)
“KISS ME ARSE” MATCH
Dolph Ziggler Vs. Sheamus
For those that don’t already know, this is supposedly the one night out of the year that WWE “goes extreme.” Hence the name of the special event. If you ask me (and perhaps you are since you clicked on this link), nothing says extreme like a man being forced to kiss another man’s ass! I mean, this is what we watch wrestling for isn’t it? I’m typing this with tears in my eyes. I’ve been pumping up Ziggler as the second coming since he was finally given a chance to be the hero at Survivor Series. I sat here and smiled while screaming, FINALLY! THEY LISTENED! ZIGGY IS MADE! Now he is the heavy underdog against the returning Sheamus in a match where there are no winners. I’m glad when I was bullied, I was never forced to kiss the big Irish guy’s bottom. Sheamus is the returning monster and probably has Cena or Reigns in his future, so I can’t see him returning only to get humiliated by Dolph. He looks stupid, but he won’t be kissing butt tonight. I hope he actually brings a donkey with him to the ring because I don’t even want to even imagine how pale that bum must be. Sorry Ziggy! We can always watch Survivor Series together and have a good cry! MCGINN’S PICK: SHEAMUS
CHICAGO STREET FIGHT
Dean Ambrose Vs. Luke Harper
The battle of the crazy guys who dress alike and I’m the only one who seems to notice. If you say the “dirty looking, homeless guy” is taking/delivering a beating on Raw tonight, you are probably talking about either Ambrose or Harper. Perhaps they should just team up and get it over with. Ambrose has taken some wicked bumps in this feud including that nasty violent spill through the ladder at WrestleMania. How he is able to walk, let alone wrestle, on Sunday is a testament to his conditioning and perhaps his lack of sanity. But repeat after me… HE NEVER WINS ANYTHING! He always loses. He might as well be on the clock right now and draft Jameis Winston because his win-loss record is pathetic. Harper isn’t too much better and you know he will turn up the violence and the awesomeness in a street fight. Because I won’t believe Ambrose will ever win on PPV until I actually see it, I say these guys fight to a schmoz and continue kicking the crap out of each other until July 4th. MCGINN’S PICK: NO CONTEST
DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Nikki Bella (C) Vs. Naomi
If you asked the Dan who used to write Superstars Recaps, he would be smiling ear to ear at the notion that Naomi was on the verge of becoming the next Divas Champion. He would say that she has tremendous natural abilities, the most athletic diva on the roster, and the uncrowned queen of the division. Surely if anyone can dethrone the vicious, vile and totally brutal Bellas, it would be for the former Funkadactyl. Sadly, she is in a pointless heel turn that will likely go in the same direction as Tamina Snuka. That is nowhere! Are we suppose to now have sympathy for Nikki? No chance! This match is why I write these while sucking down Michelob Ultras. Just kidding of course. I’m a Sam Adams guy! MCGINN’S PICK: NIKKI BELLA
LAST MAN STANDING MATCH
Roman Reigns Vs. The Big Show
Who will be unable to answer the ten count when this colossal connection compete this Sunday? Our WrestleMania main eventer takes on the guy who just won’t go away! That’s not fair to Roman, I apologize! But seriously, does this match not feel like a downgrade for a guy who was trumpeted as the next big thing only a few short weeks ago? This is a Raw/Smackdown feud that they are shoehorning into a pay-per-view. Reigns continues to prove to the Universe that he can take a licking and keep on ticking. He was literally knocked out of the title picture on Raw and then got chokeslammed through a car during the UK tapings. Show has been dominant and that’s perfect for the way this match has been booked. Make him look unstoppable so that the eventual savior rides in and slays the giant. It’s really pretty simple. Reigns needs to be reestablished as a threat to Rollins’ gold. He needs to pile up wins to do so. He starts his climb hear by dispatching the veteran Big Show. He can then move on to Sheamus, Wyatt, Rusev, you name it and before you can say “Believe That” he’ll be hoisting the WWE World Heavyweight Title just like it was planned all along. If Show wins here, you know he has compromising pictures of Triple H stored somewhere or the bloom is officially off the rose of Roman Reigns. I’ve been wrong before about this call (See Rowan, Erick), but I say the giant falls in Chi-Town and puts over the star. MCGINN’S PICK: ROMAN REIGNS
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Daniel Bryan (C) Vs. Bad News Barrett
Is this match even going to happen? There are reports out there that suggest that Bryan is banged up after the recent European tour and that will cost the IC champ several weeks as he continues to recover. He was absent from Smackdown this week which is notable since the blue brand has been set up to be the showcase program for guys like DB. If he is in fact too injured to go, it’s just another tragic chapter in what could have been a magical career for one of the most over performers in company history. Factoring out all the injuries and what not, this would be an ideal first PPV title defense for the leader of the Yes! Nation. He beats the former champ and Nexus rival all in one night. Barrett deserves this bout because after all, he didn’t actually get pinned to lose his strap last month because of the ladder match stipulations. These two have good chemistry from their developmental days and this was probably a darkhorse candidate for the match of the night honors. But since we can’t rule out something freaky given Bryan’s health, let’s fantasy book for just a moment shall we?
So Bryan is too hurt to go on so The Authority decides to strip Mr. Goatface of the belt much like they did last year when he had his neck surgery. Barrett never lost the belt “fairly” so much like Dean Douglas in 1995, he is literally handed the IC belt in the center of the ring. He celebrates and waves to the crowd but then strange music plays and for once it’s Barrett who is given the “bad news.” Out comes a guy who has been involved in this storyline plus the Sheamus/Ziggler program and is ready to make that next step after being pushed down the last few weeks. I am of course talking about “The Man Who Gravity Forgot.” My mom’s favorite. The one they call Neville. He shocks Barrett and the world and wins his first Intercontinental Championship. Now if that happens, you heard it here first! And if you heard it somewhere else, then those nerds either stole it from me or it’s a bewildering coincidence!
RUSSIAN CHAIN UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
John Cena (C) Vs. Rusev
John Cena and Rusev battle for the third straight special event, this time with the added nugget of competing in a Russian Chain Match. I can’t remember when I’ve seen one of these before but when WWE puts out their “Best Russian Chain Match” DVD, I’m guessing this match will be on the compilation. There is no chance a chain won’t be used in this one you would suspect since that’s the name of the match. Superman punches will have nothing on this match. I can’t even imagine getting hit with a bicycle chain nevermind a Russian one. Rusev simply wants to cripple Cena and take back his United States title. He even has that nifty motification to his Accolade finisher by using his chain to wrench his opponents’ backs. Those attacks on both Ryback and Cena this week on television were devastating. On the flip side, I have enjoyed Cena bringing some prestige to the US belt. It seemed to be going the way of the European or Cruiserweight straps until they put it on the franchise of the company. This US open challenge on every show has been fun to watch and I’ll fight anyone out there that thinks otherwise. This feud almost feels like the actual main event of this card. I think it will be tremendously entertaining and will keep us all guessing until the final bell. The Champ will be booed in Chicago, but his belt is going nowhere as this program reaches it’s conclusion with another Cena victory. MCGINN’S PICKS: JOHN CENA
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP STEEL CAGE MATCH (RKO BANNED)
Seth Rollins (C) Vs. Randy Orton (Kane is the “Guardian of The Gate”)
Funny what a difference one month makes doesn’t it? This same pairing was the second match on the WrestleMania card. Fun match, nothing offensive, awesome ending with the greatest RKO in history! Now add 12 pounds of gold and diamonds and you got yourself a main event anywhere in the country. I’ve had a blast watching Orton since his return. He is as close to vulgar as you can get away with on PG television. He strikes without warning and out of nowhere if you will. His series of RKO’s on Raw made that show for me on Monday. Plus he has the perfect toy to bat around in Rollins who just lives to get the crap kicked out of him. He is the beatable champion that you just want to see get his ass kicked. It worked for Ric Flair and it could be best for business for the former Mr. Money in The Bank. Now add to that, both men could pick a stipulation for this epic encounter. Rollins banned The Viper from using his signature (and viral) weapon in the RKO. Orton, meanwhile, will prevent any form of interference from The Authority by requesting that the ring be surrounded by steel. Not to be outdone, Kane has been tasked with guarding the gate, seemingly an advantage for his buddy Rollins. But wait, Rollins and Kane hate each other now! Has your head exploded yet?
Overbooking and chaos aside, this match should be a fun and thrilling conclusion to an extremely entertaining night. I think all this Kane friction with Rollins is a red herring. If we haven’t learned anything from the last two years, it’s that Kane and/or Big Show ruin everything! This month, it will be Kane’s turn. He will screw over Orton when The Apex Predator is about to taste gold again and Rollins will escape with the title for another day. The Authority always wins people. Haven’t you learned that yet? Orton will look awesome in defeat, RKO everyone in sight and the Rollins championship tour will roll on! Not bad for the Ocean’s 12 of pay-per-views! MCGINN’S PICK: SETH ROLLINS
There you have it! Be sure to check out all the Extreme Rules coverage here at Place to Be Nation. In addition to the PPV live blog Sunday night, stay tuned for the PTB Network Reaction Show dropping next week. Enjoy the show, PTB Nation!